Model UN hosts conference for high schoolers

By Molly Stieber

‘ ‘ ‘ High school students descended on the William Pitt Union yesterday. ‘ ‘ ‘ Dressed in… ‘ ‘ ‘ High school students descended on the William Pitt Union yesterday. ‘ ‘ ‘ Dressed in ‘Western business attire’ ‘mdash; no denim, spaghetti straps or athletic shoes ‘mdash; about 415 students from 29 high schools throughout Western Pennsylvania prepared to debate one another in the 12th Annual Model United Nations conference, which was sponsored by the Pitt Model UN Club and several other area organizations. ‘ ‘ ‘ The goal, said Pitt Model UN Club vice president Carl Shimel, was to make high school students more aware of the world surrounding them. ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘In my opening statements, I made sure the kids knew that we are not changing the world by doing this, but increasing knowledge of international issues that so many Americans are ignorant of,’ said Shimel. ‘ ‘ ‘ The high school students, who were told that they may not be able to participate in the event if they weren’t wearing ‘Western business attire,’ began their day by registering in the union at 8:30 a.m. yesterday. Each group of six to 10 students formed a delegation representing a country. ‘ ‘ ‘ The delegation members split up and attended committee meetings, where they discussed various foreign policy issues, including the Security Council, disarmament and international security, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Pan American Health Organization. ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘This annual Model UN conference is all about raising and increasing awareness of these international issues,’ said Shimel. ‘We discuss everything from indigenous health care to debating the Vietnam War at this conference.’ ‘ ‘ ‘ At the end of the session, around 5 p.m., students met in the Assembly Room in the William Pitt Union for closing statements. Several of them received diplomacy awards for their performance during the meetings. ‘ ‘ ‘ The Global Solutions Education Fund, the University Center for International Studies and the United Nations Association of Pittsburgh also sponsored the event.